Chasing career goals in the face of adversity is a foreign concept for most 20 year olds, but Cassandra Farquharson is doing it in style with the help of a scholarship with Western Sydney University.

Having grown up in the Blue Mountains, nature and the environment has always been close to Cassandra’s heart, while the idea of studying tourism caught her eye during high school – stemming from her passion for travel.

University was always on Cassandra’s radar to realise her dream of becoming a sustainable tourism specialist, but after running into unexpected personal circumstances on her last day of school, the prospect fell to the wayside.

After initially enrolling to study Tourism Management in 2015, Cassandra had to withdraw from her studies to prioritise her family and health. But a few years later, Cassandra is one step closer to achieving her career goals after receiving a scholarship at Western Sydney University (WSU).

Funded by Scenic World’s philanthropic program Scenic World Shared, the whole of degree scholarship will provide Cassandra with $7500 of funding for each year of her degree, valued at up to $22,500.

It’s a “dream come true” for Cassandra, who plans to apply her skills close to home as the Blue Mountains tourism industry continues to grow and evolve.

“Tourism is ever-changing in the mountains and I’m excited to learn more about how we can preserve what we have today for future generations,” Cassandra said, adding that her interest in sustainability came to life during a recent trip where she volunteered in Nepal.

“We are lucky to be surrounded by stunning landscapes, great people and a unique lifestyle, and this scholarship is such a great head start to my learning so I can play an active role in supporting Blue Mountains tourism.”

Scenic World’s Managing Director Anthea Hammon congratulated Cassandra for her success in receiving the inaugural Scenic World Scholarship Fund which will continue to grow, increasing its support by one student per year until it supports four scholarships.

“Education is a key pillar of the Scenic World Shared program; we recognise that supporting young people today will have a greater impact tomorrow and leave a lasting impact on our community,” she said.

“We’re proud to have the opportunity to support young people like Cassandra who bring so much vitality and enthusiasm to our community and help to pave the way for future generations. We wish her all the best and look forward to hearing more about her tourism studies.”

Western Sydney University’s Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Professor Kevin Dunn, offered his congratulations to Cassandra and recognised the value of the University’s ongoing relationship with Scenic World.

“The University is proud to partner with Scenic World, to create invaluable learning opportunities for motivated students like Cassandra,” said Professor Dunn.

“These scholarships provide financial assistance to students – more importantly they provide direct access to award-winning tourism companies, like Scenic World, where students can work on real-world projects and gain hands-on industry experience.”

The Scenic World Scholarship in Natural Science and Tourism Management is the result of a partnership between Scenic World and Western Sydney University to assist ambitious Blue Mountains residents from disadvantaged backgrounds to follow their dream of studying a bachelor’s degree in tourism or environmental science.

Scenic World will also offer work experience opportunities where relevant to selected candidates to support their career development in tourism or environmental science.

Image courtesy of Western Sydney University.